Superintendent Runcie proposes Oct. 5 reopening for Broward Schools

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie has announced a date for when he would like to reopen schools to students and teachers.

During a virtual school board meeting on Tuesday morning, Runice said Oct. 5 is when he proposes school campuses reopen for in-person learning.

“We plan to recommend to the school board that we open our schools starting Monday, Oct. 5,” he said.

Runcie also addressed some concerns about what the upcoming school year could look like.

“We will institute safety precautions, including that students on campus will wear masks, that they will continue to turn in homework electronically and that there will be no science labs conducted in classrooms until it is determined to be safe to do so,” he said.

The superintendent also praised teachers for their hard work and dedication during the coronavirus pandemic, adding they are necessary and needed for students to return to the classroom.

The county’s plan to return to classrooms is broken down over 200-plus pages, but Anna Fusco, President of the Broward Teachers Union, said an email received Monday concerned her, and the union continues negotiating the details of returning to campus.

“We know that management has a position that they have to take where it says, ‘Come back to work,'” Fusco said. “It’s how they presented it to our teachers and other support staff of just matter-of-fact, ‘Come back to work or take a leave,’ I felt it was very unprofessional. It was inconsiderate, especially when we’re in really strong, strong multiple hours and days of conversation on what they need to tell the employees. It’s been great conversation, but we haven’t come to an understanding yet.”

She also said school officials haven’t been clear on the expectations once they return to the classroom.

“They do know that they’re expected to go back to work. It’s what they’re expected to go back to work into, that they should know what they’re being asked to go into,” said Fusco. “It’s only a respect factor. It’s a consideration. It’s a professional decency, and that hasn’t been afforded to them.”

During the meeting, Runcie encouraged teachers to read the reopening plan to get the answers to which they are looking for.

“This morning, our teachers and staff received updated information about reopening, including a copy of the existing file and reopening plan and the policy for wearing masks,” said Runcie. “I encourage all teachers and staff to read the reopening plan and policy as it will answer many of the questions that you have.”

“I just don’t think that’s something that needs to be rushed,” Broward Principals’ and Assistants’ Association Executive Director Lisa Maxwell said.

Parents who wish for their child to continue learning virtually will have the option to do so.

Discussions and voting regarding reopening school campuses will continue on Sept. 22.

To review the full Broward County Public Schools reopening plan, click here.

In Miami-Dade County, the school board is expected to meet on Thursday to set a date as to when classes will resume in person.

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